For President Obama and Gov. Rick Perry, Thursday morning should feel familiar.
In August 2010, Perry greeted Obama as his plane landed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and gave him a letter urging the president to send more troops to the Texas-Mexico border.
Just after noon on Thursday, as Obama steps off Air Force One in Austin, Perry plans to be again waiting on the tarmac. This time, with a message about the economy.
“Gov. Perry simply plans to welcome the president to Texas and perhaps encourage him to implement Texas’ successful economic policies nationwide,” Perry spokesman Josh Havens said.
After his encounter with Perry, Obama has a busy afternoon scheduled. While that visit in 2010 centered on a speech on higher education at the University of Texas, this trip is about promoting Obama's efforts to spur economic growth.
His decision to come to Texas is notable, as Perry has worked to frame the state's strong economic performance in recent years as a result of Republican policies that keep taxes low and regulation light. And while Obama has struggled to pursue his economic agenda — hampered by a divided Congress and a large federal debt — Perry and the Republican-led Texas Legislature are debating what to do with a large budget surplus.
The president will first stop at Manor New Tech High School, where positive results with a collaborative teaching style have gained national attention. The school and student body spent the week preparing for the visit, including postponing some end-of-course exams.
Afterward, Obama will meet with technology workers at the Austin facility of Applied Materials, the world's largest maker of chip manufacturing equipment. Austin's city council plans to recess a scheduled meeting early so that the council and Mayor Lee Leffingwell can attend the meeting, said Amy Everhart, a spokeswoman for the mayor.
The White House had not revealed additional details of Obama’s Texas trip as of Wednesday evening, but rumors swirled that the president may stop by elsewhere in the city. The Austin-American Statesman reported that the city plans to close unspecified streets downtown Thursday and detour some buses, suggesting Obama could make an unannounced appearance there.